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2018 annual reports presented at the AGM held on 4 March 2019

Eric Sidoti, Music Director

Where has another year gone? With so much beautiful music to learn and sing, it is easy for time to fly by quickly, and 2018 was no exception.

We began the year in England – well not literally, but musically. More precisely, Victorian England, with a wide selection of works from Stanford, Stainer, Goss, Elgar and Parry. The large work that session was Sullivan’s The Prodigal Son, which certainly had a lot of gorgeous moments as well as the memorable “Let us eat and drink”. Peter Averi was very enthusiastic for this programme, as he had waited for decades to hear The Prodigal Son performed, and was well pleased with the performance that we delivered. 

For session 2 we hopped across the English Channel and focused on French music, also during the Victorian time. What a contrast in styles, despite the separation of only a few hundred kilometres! A couple of Faurés, a D’indy, a Saint-Saëns, and several Gounods were done in the first half. The big work in the second half was the sublime Gounod Requiem, which marked Ann-Marie’s debut of doing a major work – and what a wonderful job she did of it too!

Last, but certainly not least, were the two performances of The Messiah. Very well received at both venues, we had a very capable orchestra and some lovely soloists as always. I even managed to teach most of you a new chorus or two, and I firmly rank the whole experience very high in our accomplishments.

And sessions 2 and 3 were also most interesting for me especially, as I first took an extended trip to the US for my son’s university graduation (leaving Ann-Marie to lead you completely for 5 weeks), and then returned only to come down with whooping cough! It was quite the experience going through all of The Messiah with the affliction, including broken ribs for several months! Thank you for putting up with me during all of that!

Over the year we were blessed with some great soloists and accompanists. Of course Ellen was magnificent as always in both capacities, but we were pleased to also have both Heather Easting and Nigel Williams on organ, and the following soloists (besides Ellen) throughout the year:

·      Nicole Davey

·      Olivia Sheat

·      Alexandra Woodhouse Appleby

·      Linden Loader

·      Jamie Young

·      Joseph Haddow

·      William McElwee, and

·      Roger Wilson

I would also be amiss not to mention the marvellous workshop we had during TheMessiah by Dr. Margaret Medlyn! Wasn’t that absolutely wonderful?

The Music Programme sub-committee continues to assist in guiding us to these great concerts. Their work was instrumental in the first two sessions. I would like to thank the individuals who worked throughout the year, including Ann-Marie, Ellen, Dawn, Les, and Stuart Douglas. Dawn and Stuart have left the committee, and Bill Gebbie has joined us in this enjoyable but at times intensive task going forward.

Usually I now thank a whole bunch of people individually, but this time I simply want to say Thanks! To the Committee, and Thanks! To you, the members of the Chorale that allow us all to make such beautiful music together. As I have already said, 2019 is quite possibly the most exciting one for the Chorale (for me) since I started, so let’s keep singing!

Carol Dyer, President

In reflecting on the past year, the amount of organising needed for four concerts, and re-reading last year's report, I realise I am constantly haunted by Denise's remarks to be positive “We come to choir to enjoy the singing and the music, not to be growled at, Carol!” So mindful of that, and because I often say what I think, here is my report.

The committee is mainly responsible for the organisation and management of the choir so first and foremost, I want to thank our hardworking and very willing committee. While we receive, from time to time, grateful thanks from choir members for excellent organisation and communication with the choir, it is very much a team effort. Both Les and Jean, new members last year, more than do their share with Otaki liaison and raffles respectively; Chris took on the added role of Distribution Librarian to her Secretary hat; Dawn has proved an admirable, and efficient treasurer; Myf heads the tickets and fundraising/catering; Jutta, Membership Secretary and Venue Manager, monitors apologies and guest singers as well as setting up each week and for concerts. Vivien Adams who resigned in December, has been a stalwart of the committee over more than 14 years, and using her expert computing skills as Publications Editor, has produced posters, flyers, adverts, the newsletter as well as the website, and by my count, 42 programmes. The committee also has a wonderfully helpful group of choir members; Jude Whitaker who has taken over the sourcing of music and recently, the storage of several boxes of mainly Christmas music and Hiawatha; Janie Cook assists with rehearsal aids and the website, and Josef Griffiths is doing posters, and possibly programmes. Others who help specifically, are Gunda Tente, Bronwyn Parker, Lynne Strode-Penney, Tony Hart and Tony Fuell (Facebook). Assistance from Choir members on concerts days is also commendable.

Outside of choir we have valued help from Allen Corin our Concert Manager, who often sets up seating in the church, prior to practice, Mark Jones and Peter Dyer on concert days.

Meetings tend to be limited to 3 a session, including a Saturday, with emails for important matters in between, but thank goodness for electronic communication when there are untoward events (whooping cough!), accidents or traffic delays which affect final rehearsals! Notably, we cope very well with any curve ball that is thrown in our direction. Friday concerts are now off the agenda.

Our main 'home' at St Paul's has proved convenient especially for practices; any matters dealt with by Rebecca in the office, Vicar Julie and Vergers Helen and Peter, have been gratifyingly positive and helpful. Audience numbers there continue to impinge on our concert income, and the logistics of performing at Nga Purapura is outweighed by a formidable sound problem. For five weeks we were without our Music Director, and thanks go to Ann-Marie, Assistant MD who ably stepped in to take practices in the intervening time.

Providing a year's programme for planning purposes and for the choir, requires quite an effort by Eric and myself, along with sorting dates with St Paul's for the use of their facilities, as well as negotiating other concerts by other groups. Does it solve the attendance problems it was designed to alleviate? I'm not sure it does because Saturday practices continue to be affected by absences. However, while we know that sometime absences are unavoidable, I would like to congratulate those members who had either 100% attendance or missed only one or two practices in all of 2018.

Recruiting guest singers for Messiah was very successful and we have retained many of them this year – thank you for staying with us. Nonetheless it is important not to rest on our laurels, but continue to encourage new singers to come and try us. Yes, sometimes the challenge of the music is a bit daunting, but what pride and delight you feel as a new singer when you perform well!

Eric continues to encourage and praise despite throwing us some challenging works which we don't always love at the beginning but they are always of a wide-ranging choice, interesting, musical, and in the end, run round in our heads for some time after concerts. As our Music Director, thank you Eric for everything you do in choosing music, sorting soloists and orchestra members and leading us. Long may you stay with us. Sadly, Ellen, our wonderful accompanist and voice coach, decided in November that after 30+ years, it was time to retire. The committee is in the process of advertising for an accompanist, but I know that Ellen holds a very special place in our hearts and in the history of the Chorale.

Membership of the choir means a commitment and a responsibility. It is not just a matter of turning up to sing and putting away a few chairs if you can; it means reading all information that is sent out relating to the running of the choir because changes do occur and you need to be informed. It is somewhat exasperating to have people ask committee about something that has appeared in an email or a newsbrief and in evening notices. Now we have a noticeboard as well – please check it regularly.

We continue to need help with publicity and promotion as well as the website; we need you the choir members to support ticket sales in order to increase our audience numbers but above all we need new people on the committee as we move into the 36th year of Kapiti Chorale - none of this committee will continue forever.